Imlay City Fire Capt. Scott Stone on Saturday talks to large group of volunteers regarding the protocol for installing new smoke detectors and CO detectors in homes at Maple Grove mobile home community. photo by Tom Wearing.
May 01, 2019IMLAY CITY — With help from about three dozen volunteers on Saturday, April 27, Imlay City firefighters installed 576 smoke alarms and 71 carbon monoxide detectors in 150 residences at the Maple Grove Estates mobile home community.
The coordinated effort comes in the aftermath of a mobile home fire in February that took the lives of four young children and seriously injured another sibling and both parents.
While no one can say with certainty, it is believed the presence of smoke alarms in the home might have mitigated the loss of life.
In the days that followed the fire, members of the Imlay City Firemen's Association (ICFA) mounted a campaign to raise enough money to purchase smoke alarms for every home at Maple Grove.
With widespread support and generosity from the community and elsewhere, the ICFA collected more than $11,000 to purchase 2,200 smoke alarms and about 1,500 nine-volt batteries.
Imlay City Fire Capt. Scott Stone, who spearheaded the "smoke detector" campaign, announced during an April 13 press conference that the new equipment would be installed at Maple Grove on Saturday.
He simultaneously sent out a call to local volunteers and groups willing to lend a hand during the installation process.
In response to Stone's request, 38 volunteers showed up early at the fire hall on Saturday to sign up
At about 10 a.m., the volunteers moved to the pre-established staging area at Venture High School, where they were shuttled to the mobile home park in a two six-person "mules" donated by Ray C's of Lapeer.
Stone said most Maple Grove residents had been prepared in advance of the ICFA's plan to provide and install new smoke detectors in their homes.
Fire Marshal present
Stone noted that State of Michigan Fire Marshal, Kevin Sehlmeyer, was also in attendance, arriving at the mobile home park at around noon.
"He was just there to observe," said Stone. "He said he was very impressed with how well everyone worked together to accomplish our goal."
Kudos to all
On Monday (April 29), Stone expressed thanks to his fellow Imlay City firefighters and to all of the volunteers, including firefighters from the Almont, Attica and Burlington departments; four representatives from the Lapeer County Red Cross; and three representatives from the Imlay City Hispanic Service Center, who served as interpreters with Spanish-speaking residents at Maple Grove.
"With the amount of people who showed up and all the support we had, we were able to accomplish what we did in a matter of about five hours," Stone said. "We're truly appreciative of everyone who contributed or shared in this effort."
Capt. Stone thanked Imlay City McDonald's management and staff for providing volunteers with coffee and muffins; and Jet's Pizza of Imlay City for providing party-pack pizzas.
He also acknowledged Page One Printing for donating official paperwork to go to the State of Michigan; and The Print Shop for donating 250 stickers for placement on the doors of Maple Grove residents, informing them in advance of the scheduled installation day.
More to come
While the first phase of the ICFA's Smoke Detector Project is essentially complete, Stone said a protocol will be established to deliver and install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors at other Imlay City residences where they are needed.
"We're looking at continuing the program by designating certain streets at a time—probably during the summer months.
"Meanwhile," said Stone, "if anyone needs a free smoke detector or needs one installed, just call the Imlay City Fire Hall at 810-724-6262 and leave a message.
"Someone will get back with you to establish a day and time to make that happen," Stone says.
Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.